Pick over 1 pound of navy beans, and then rinse and drain to clean. Put the beans in a large saucepan, cover by 2 inches with cold water, bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes before removing the pot from the heat, covering and letting sit. After 1 hour, remove and drain the beans.
Add the beans and a tied bundle of 10 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf to a large soup pot along with 1 1/2 pounds of smoked ham hocks, 8 cups of water and a medium onion, medium carrot and garlic clove all coarsely chopped. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes until the beans and hocks are tender.
Turn off the heat and extract the hocks from the pot. Allow them to cool slightly. Separate the meat from the hocks and discard anything else. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.
Puree about 3 cups of beans in a blender with some soup liquid. Add the bean puree and diced ham back to the soup and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls, and top with a pat of butter.Learn more about Cooking